Jeramey Jannene
House Confidential

Crew Destroying Abele’s Mansion

Historic $2.6 million Eschweiler mansion built by one of city's most esteemed architects.

By - Jun 26th, 2019 11:33 am
Demolition of Chris Abele's historic Eschweiler mansion. Photo by Dave Reid.

Demolition of Chris Abele’s historic Eschweiler mansion. Photo by Dave Reid.

Exterior demolition began this morning on Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele‘s Shorewood mansion.

Barenz Builders is leading the demolition for Abele, who secured a permit in the past week to demolish the historic N. Lake Dr. home.

Abele, as first reported by my colleague Michael Hornedecided to tear it down and develop a new home on the site, after having bought the historic home for $2.6 million in November. Designed by famed architect Alexander C. Eschweiler, the 9,762-square-foot home is not protected by a local historic designation.

Abele and his fiancé Jennifer Gonda plan to replace the house, built in 1927, with one that “respects and honors [the neighborhood],” Abele has promised. The new home will be designed by Northworks Architects.

In a statement issued in May, a representative of Abele’s contractor said the home was in need of substantial repair. “I’ve worked on numerous properties over the years and this one was in remarkably poor condition,” said Barenz president Ronny Barenz. The contractor said he understood the property sat on the market for three years because of uncertainty with renovation costs.

John Hambrook, a member of the family who sold the house to Abele, calls this representation a lie. Hambrook told Urban Milwaukee that his family invested in installing a new boiler and water heater, abated asbestos and updating electrical systems.

The home was built for Dr. Charles E. Albright and his wife Laura Uihlein Albright (1877-1967), an heiress to the Schlitz Brewing Co. fortune. Although trained as a medical doctor, Albright worked for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. as its assistant Medical Director and as a salesman.

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity‘s ReStore team has been in the house over the past month salvaging various elements, many of which are now for sale at ReStore in Wauwatosa.

Demolition Photos

2018 Exterior Photos

Photos, provided to Urban Milwaukee by the Milwaukee County Historical Society (MCHS) and the Hambrook family from which Abele acquired it, show the house almost a century ago and just a few months ago.

MCHS Historical Photos

Hambrook Family Photos

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